Book Review: “Dog on the Roof: On the Road with Mitt and Mutt”
It’s election year and get ready for the stream of political satire and partisan humor books. And what better — and more fun and funny — example can you point to than “Dog on the Roof On the Road with Mitt and Mutt” by satirists Bruce Kluger and David Slavin with wonderful illustrations by Colleen Clapp? Life may be a bitch (and political life a lot bitchier) but this book isn’t.
Dog on the Roof satirizes the frequently lampooned 1983 vacation trip the Romneys took where their dog Seamus was strapped to the top of the roof. Yes, it has been used so often now by late night comedians, stand up comics in comedy stores, bloggers, serious op-ed columnists and Democrats that it’s no longer as effective a punch line but — trust me on this — dog on the roof bark is as good as its bite. They key to the books success – -and why you’ll laugh when you read it — is in three components: great satire by experienced satirists, a text that is in rhyme, and Clapp’s wonderful illustrations. But in this book, the Romney’s go from Salt Lake city to Washington DC, all around the country — and the places they visit are often acknowledged in the satirical rhyme.
This isn’t a big book. In fact, it’s a very small book that you can easily read in one sitting. But books like this (if my own collection is any guide) are kept for years and years because like vintage “I Love Lucy” re-runs or past episodes of “The Office” it’s still fun to go back and visit again.
And the authors have experience: Kluger and Slavin first started writing for NPR’s All Things Considered in 2002 (I did live news reports from Madrid for a while for that show in the late 70s, after the death of dictator Francisco Franco). They blog on The Huffington Post and have also contributed to mainstream media newspapers such as the L.A. Times, New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune. Meanwhile, Clapp has received applause over some 30 years for her graphics and presentational art for venues such as The Smithsonian Institution, NBC News, The Chris Matthews show and The Philadelphia Zoo. Although Dog on the Roff is often from a partisan viewpoint, it’s fun enough so that GOPers will get a kick out of it, too.